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Airstream Vs Versaflo

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Emiliano Achaval, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I have been using the Airstream for a few months. I like it but... I think the Versaflo is not going to be as noisy and or as heavy. I finally got used to the weight of the Airstream. Yesterday I replaced the filter, I was impressed by the amount of fine dust in there!! Yes, I cut it open to see... Those of you using the Versaflo, how quiet or noisy is it? I'm trying to look it up on the Enviro Safety web site, but they have the most disorganized site, geared to commercial companies. Looks like one of the Versaflo versions uses the same battery than my Airstream. One version looks like is just a respirator, not a filtered helmet. Another question, does the visor flips up on the Versaflo? I have emailed our resident PPE AAW guru, Alan Zenreich, if he replies me privately I will try to post what he tells me here... Below is a screen shot of the one I think is the right one, with what it looks like my Airstream battery...
     

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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    That is the reincarnation of the original 3M BreatheEasy with the Versaflow helmet instead of the same helmet shell as the 3M Airstream. Except for the helmet it appears that the parts are exactly the same as the old BreatheEasy. The battery is not the same as the Airstream battery. It uses three round filter cartridges that attach to the blower assembly. In addition to the HEPA dust filter cartridges, it can be used with several other filter types. It's a little lighter and quieter than the Airstream, but there are a few disadvantages. Noise from the blower does travel up the hose, the weight of the hose pulling on the back of the headgear does add some weight, and the location of of the blower fanny pack is a real problem if you are given to breaking wind on occasion. Some people have experimented with adding an exhaust deflector shield, but the results were disappointing.
     
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  3. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    My wife just just asked me why I was laughing so hard! That might be a problem indeed! Hahaha. Do you think it’s an improvement over the Airstream?
     
  4. Josh Stevens

    Josh Stevens

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    My 3M versaflo sounds like it has a completely different fan to the one Bill is talking about but to answer some of your questions the visor does flip up on both of the versions I've seen (mine is a face shield which is nice and light but you can also get a hard hat), there is noise from the fan but I haven't used an airstream so I can't compare. The lithium battery lasts about 12 hours in mine.
    Here's a review of the helmet and all the accessories if you haven't already seen it
    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhKrtj7QJSI&t=531s


    10671282_10204564387643937_1942027901746109050_n.jpg
     
  5. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    Are both of these units lighter and more comfortable to use then the Trend Airshield Pro? Or are they more efficient at keeping dust out of your lungs?
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It seems obvious from the pictures that what Enviro Safety is peddling is a Frankenstein collection of left over BreatheEasy spare parts plus a Versaflow helmet. I think that I would be more inclined to get the system that Josh showed primarily because the video says that the filter filters dust plus "certain" fumes. The new Versaflow fanny pack with built in "smart" lithium ion battery goes longer between charges and is lighter than the older and heavier NiMH battery. Josh, have you given the filter the hot spicy food test?

    Emiliano, I would recommend looking at the Airware America website because they don't sell cobbled together "Franken-systems".
     
  7. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Both!

    If 3M would be willing to donate a Versaflow system for real-world evaluation, I am qualified to give it a thorough senior citizen Tex-Mex environmental stress test.
     
  8. odie

    odie

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  9. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Thank you, I will check them out.
     
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    After further looking, I see that using a Versaflo faceshield or Versaflo helmet with the BreatheEasy system is approved by 3M. Personally, I think that I would prefer the Versaflo hard hat with the Versaflo blower, filter, and Li-ion battery although unless the blower quits in my Airstream I'll probably stick with it since I have a large supply of filters and other spare parts.
     
  11. AlanZ

    AlanZ Resident Techno Geek

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    I have two AirStreams, and two BreatheEasy helmets that I have acquired over the years. These are great for portable use.
    In my shop, I prefer and use a Versaflo helmet that is connected to a wall mounted HEPA filter through a 10ft hose. The hose rides along a ball bearing shower curtain rod so the hose is suspended from the ceiling, and does not touch the floor. In my little shop, being tethered to the long hose is not a problem. It makes for a very lightweight and quiet setup with lots of controlled air flow. I built this setup after seeing something similar that Eugen Schlaak posted on WoW several years ago.
     
  12. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    My biggest complaint about the Airstream now is how loud it is. I talked to Lauren and Alan Zenreich today. They have a very simple solution. Noise cancelling headphones. Yes, that simple... I will be going to town and buying a set of Bose. I will be happier if I can hear people taking to me, and if I dont jump 5 feet high when someone sneaks up on me. For now, seems like the way to go... I will report later this week on my progress.
     
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  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    About forty years ago when I was still flying, David Clark (manufacturer of pilot headsets) came out with the first headsets with active noise cancelling electronics. Shortly after that Bose also introduced their version. Neither one was much more than a novelty because they introduced some annoying noise artifacts of their own. It's good to hear (or not hear) that the technology has advanced sufficiently to remedy those early growing pains.
     
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  14. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    A lot of people I know wear noise cancelling earphones for Trapshooting, they seem to work. I use noise ISOLATING ear buds, and I cant hear a thing... I have a pair of Bose headphones for when I travel, wish I could wear those, but they won't fit over the airstream, I need small bluetooth ones...
     
  15. odie

    odie

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    Same here........I've had my Airstream for about 25 years, and it's still going fine. Unless it has a major breakdown, I don't plan on any changes. Mine is Racal Health and Safety......made prior to when 3M took over the product.....but, all the parts are the same. I still have some of the original filters, before they started using the Hepa filters......those seem to last forever. The one I have in there now has been in for several years of use, and I tried the "air flow indicator" recently......still good! I think the Hepa filter may be overkill, and the original set-up works good enough.

    Question for you, Bill......I'm recharging on a standard charger (not the smart charger) for about 6 hours on a lamp timer. The batteries are showing just slightly over 5v when charged, but probably not a full 100% charge. The battery lasts for about 2 days of use before it needs to be charged again, and I switch out to the other battery. Is there any problem doing it this way? Someday, I might break down and get the smart charger, but as long as I can keep going without any major expense, that's the plan that fits my budget for now. ;)

    Emiliano.......I don't find the noise in my Airstream a problem. Is there something about the newer models that make them more noisy? Maybe it's because I have the stereo running nearly all the time while I turn, anyway! :rolleyes: Nothing like turning to music, IMHO!

    -----odie-----
     
  16. James Seyfried

    James Seyfried

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    Emiliano looks a lot younger than you and probably has less hearing loss. :D

    I take out my hearing aids, put in ear plugs and turn up the stereo when I'm in the shop too! ;)
     
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  17. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    At least "overkill" won't kill me. :D

    Your charging routine sounds fine to me.

    I agree with James and think that maybe it's Emiliano's newer model ears and not the newer model Airstream. :D
     
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  18. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    Emiliano, I have a pair of those Bose Noise Cancelling in-the-ear-buds that Alan and Lauren use. They work great in muffling equipment noise, but I can still hear if someone comes up to me and calls my name. It's muffled, but I can hear it. The down side to that is they don't make great ear phones to wear when traveling on a plane, seated near a crying baby or a rowdy talker :-/
     
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  19. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I will keep my noise isolating ones for travel! lol. How about when someone comes to visit, and you are on the lathe, on and off, can you have a conversation with the noise cancelling ones?
     
  20. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    If you are almost next to me I cant hear what you are saying. I have to turn it off. SO, I have to take my bluetooth noise isolating earbuds off, then I say What? then you come closer, I still can't hear you, then I have to turn off the Airstream... I have a large flat screen tv in the shop with a Samsung surround system connected to it, I can use the sound bar for music too... I'm hoping to be able to listen to the tv a little with the noise cancelling ones... I'm buying them tomorrow,,,
     
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  21. Bruce Schoenleber

    Bruce Schoenleber

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    I find that changes in the sound coming from equipment (lathe in this case) can be a good indicator of the -first- sign of trouble. I would be reluctant to eliminate that.
     
  22. odie

    odie

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    Well......be sure to let us know how that works out for you, Emiliano.....:D

    As Bill suggested, it's true that us older geezers tend to not hear as well as we once did. o_O

    -----odie-----
     
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  23. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Eh? Did you say something? :D
     
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  24. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    Hear someone call your name or ask you a question? Yes. Which is enough for you to hit the pause button to stop the music. Once that stops, you can hear more of the conversation, but if you turn off the noise cancelling along with the music, you can have your conversation.
     
  25. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    I agree. And I'm only wearing those noise-cancelling ear buds when I'm sanding after finish turning. I want to minimize the sound of the Air Stream Helmet, dust collector, corded drill, air compressor/random orbital air sander and two air filters. When I'm roughing, or finish turning, I don't use ear protection because I need to hear/know what's happening with the wood.
     
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  26. Josh Stevens

    Josh Stevens

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    I can't say I could give it the spicy food test because I don't have a reliable sense of smell...luckily hehehe. I have a mate who wears a similar version that welders wear and the "spicy food test" is a common prank amongst the welders apparently!

    As far as the noise goes, I actually wear earmuffs all the time when turning as I have a dust extractor running all the time (for dry timbers anyway) and my fathers industrial deafness has made me paranoid about ending up the same way ;)
     
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  27. Steven Forrest

    Steven Forrest

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    Emiliano and one and all,
    I have been worried about my neck/shoulders/back/body mechanics while turning. I wanted something for air filtration, but even the standard Bionic shield was feeling heavy, so I just couldn't see getting one of the full helmet units. Jerry Kermode to the rescue - he lives near me, and showed me his system. Basically, he runs 4 inch pipe from his house out to his shop. From there, he's got some piping,(he's got multiple down pipes, so he can open up whichever one he's using - sort of a blast gate system in reverse), an inline fan, and flexible tubing at the end attached to one of the super light 3m Hepa Airmate hoods from Airware (a clear visor with a paper shell and a hose fitting, essentially). It's great. Weighs virtually nothing, fresh air coming in from wherever you place your source pipe, very quiet because the fan inherently is, plus it isn't in my actual shop space, and all the air is moving into your mask and out and down - positive pressure keeps dust from getting in. No fogging, either. You need to figure out your safety needs re eye and face protection - it doesn't offer collision protection, just respiratory, so I only wear this unit when sanding. (I've settled on the Elipse the rest of the time.) Still, it's been great. The shield itself didn't cost too much. I didn't bother with the rest of the 3m system. They get you for the specialized hose, though. Jerry's extension is dryer hose. I couldn't find what he recommended, so I got a cheap CPAP tube on line to run between the unit and my ductwork. The fan is an inline from Fantech. Whole system probably cost a couple hundred or less to put together, and it's custom built for my needs. PS Emiliano, I'm also a Stubby group member on Facebook.
     
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  28. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I have several old CPAP machines and have wondered about using them while sanding.
     
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  29. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    I can definitely hear my cuts even with the noise isolating earphones. After so many years turning, I find myself turning without even thinking and my brain knows when something is not right... I like to turn while listening to music or other things, thats one thing I cant do, loud music, has to be low enough to hear the cuts. Another thing, I have 30% hearing loss on one ear, a lifetime of hunting and shooting. So I wear protection to prevent more loss. Some cuts are super loud. My Stubby is super quiet, its some of the cuts that are loud. When Betty Scarpino was here, she told us that she has some hearing loss because of a lifetime using a lathe without protection. She carefully puts on hearing protection every time she starts the lathe. I got my new Bose Noise cancelling today! I will test them tomorrow... Aloha
     
  30. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    The Airstream is kind of heavy... Took me a long time to get used to it. I'm finally comfortable with it now, and tomorrow I will have my new Bose noise cancelling ear buds... Life is good. Aloha fellow Stubby user!!
     
  31. odie

    odie

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    If you can manage it, Steven.......can you rustle up some photos? :D

    -----odie-----
     
  32. Steven Forrest

    Steven Forrest

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    Odie - I can do that. It may not be until this weekend, but I'll take a couple of pics for you all.

    I meant to post last night - my grown sons played a good prank on me with the air system. I was turning the other night, and all of a sudden there was the worst, most foul odor ever. I thought maybe something had both pooped and died in my air line - a rodent or something. It was so revolting. I mentioned it to my sons and they started giggling. Turns out they were holding an open jar of kim chee under the air intake. True story.
     
  33. Steven Forrest

    Steven Forrest

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    IMG_5169.JPG IMG_5170.JPG IMG_5171.JPG IMG_5172.JPG IMG_5173.JPG
    Folks, as promised: First image is the fan (inline fan from Fantech. I forget the model number. Bought it through some online supply house. About $100.) Some mesh over the opening to keep critters out. Mounted up high in a separate part of the garage. Next image is the run to the lathe area - stepped down from 4 inch to 2 inch pipe. (Jerry Kermode's system is all 4 inch, if I recall, and he brings air in from his house - warm in winter, cool in summer, and often smelling of cookies, coffee, etc. I wasn't that ambitious.) The whole 4 in internal/external, step down, etc. business is kind of a pain. Third image is the run from the dividing wall. (Orange tube is from my compressor, also on the other side of the wall for noise's sake.) Fourth shot is the drop to me. Notice the unbelievably funky adapter to the CPAP hose. (Note - no actual CPAP machine involved - just the hose. About $10 on Amazon) Last shot is the CPAP hose to the ($50!) Airmate hose with the special fitting (by far the most ridiculous price in the whole kit) to go to the 3M HEPA Airmate hood, available at airwareamerica.com. ($32). So for about $200, I have fresh air under positive pressure inside a hood that weighs almost nothing and never fogs up. Drawbacks - no significant shield protection - it's all about breathing, not impact, so I only wear it for sanding. I suppose you could wear eye protection under there, but I'm not sure how you could manage a significant protective visor for your face.)The hood is lasting - it's a tough sort of non-tear paper. You can get overlays for the visor (they aren't a perfect fit, because they aren't actually for this model - but Jerry says they do fine.) And the hood itself is only about 30 bucks.
    And yes, that is a Stubby. Word is it was the first one imported by John Jordan to sell - before they started casting his name in. Got it from the original owner a year ago. And shortly after this photo was shot, I turned that bowl into a funnel.
     
  34. odie

    odie

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    Great job of it, Steven. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to show us your system. :D

    You'll probably inspire a few other turners to follow your lead.

    -----odie-----
     
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  35. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Very nice Steven. That is a very nice system you have there. Not bad for $200 as most good fresh air system helmets cost two or three times that.
     
  36. Steven Forrest

    Steven Forrest

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    Lamar - exactly. The helmets are safer, no doubt - there would be a real advantage to wearing the same unit all the time, and having fresh air all the time, and having your face protected all the time. (I just reread Lynn Yamaguchi's account of having a bowl blow up and crush her face - pretty sobering. June 2014 Am. Woodturner) But I swear, my neck, shoulders, and back just can't take it. So this is a good intermediate solution. Ellipse respirator and a face shield for turning - this unit for sanding. Dust collector and room air filter for supplemental, and I even got a cheapo exhaust fan for my window. And the room is still dusty! But at least I'm not breathing much of it these days.
     
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  37. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Years ago when it was allowed by code to work on energized high voltage systems we used a portable
    air supply that would feed forced air into an Arc Flash Hood thru a hose which helped provide fresh air and kept the face shield from fogging over. The newer systems now have the forced air system with batteries attached to the hood and this gets to be a problem for many users that only use the equipment on occasion. Your head, neck and back muscles can get fatigued quickly while wearing the additional weight and performing high risk tasks.

    For certain applications where the work is performed in a localized area they do make tool balancers that can be mounted above your work area and the tool balancer supports the weight of the tool and removes the majority of the effort required by the tool user. Imagine attaching a helium filled balloon to the top of your face shield. Not a solution for most people but a possible solution for someone that does not need the additional weight on their head, neck and body. I would prefer a light weight face shield with forced air supplied by a light weight hose suspended by your waist belt running into the back side of the face shield. The air supply system would be mounted remotely and a light weight hose ran to the work space.

    Anyone wearing the heavier self-contained systems usually require a break-in period of using the equipment for longer periods of time each day until they get used to the extra weight on their person. Not fun!
     
  38. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Thank you for sharing! Great system. Looks like you have more than enough air flowing thru! I would buy a Versaflo for that...
     
  39. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    I can just see it--I hook up my version of Steve's system, and find it effectively sucks shavings from the lathe, and blows them right into my helmet! o_O
     
  40. John Kelsey

    John Kelsey

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    Struggling with dust control and researching these helmet-filter systems, hope I can see and try them at Portland in June.

    So a Q about the noise-canceling ear gear.... can you still hear the sound of the tool on the wood? This is important feedback to me. Right now instead of a helmet I've got an airbag dust machine near the lathe, with a flex hose to a sanding hood, but it is really loud. Compared to that, how loud is your helmet apparatus?

    If I get the helmet, is it still necessary, or maybe just helpful, to also vac away the dust at the source?
     
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